Feminist progress needs to go beyond Title IX

Published by adviser, Author: Susan Gardner - FMLA, Date: March 7, 2013

This week there was a Diversity and Inclusion series focused on Title IX.

I’m sure many of you have gone to some of these events, or maybe just one, or some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. Some of you may even ask what Title IX is.

A quick description of the education amendment states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Title IX also protects from discrimination on the basis of sex in employment and employment practices in educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

The prohibition encompasses, but is not limited to, recruitment, advertising, hiring, upgrading, tenure, firing, rates of pay, fringe benefits, leave for pregnancy and childbirth, and participation in employer sponsored activities.

The amendment expanded in 1987 adding that the definition of the program or activity should include all the operations of an educational institution, governmental entity or private employer that receives federal funds.

The amendment was originally set into motion in 1972. This document forced universities to forbid sex discrimination in all academic services including, but not limited to, admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, Registrar’s office, classroom assignments, grading and discipline.

Whoever decides to act against this amendment has to go through the Office of Civil Rights. They are in charge of giving the universities funding, and if they find the university is not in compliance with this document, they lose funds, and their “good reputation.”  In order for the university to be found guilty of noncompliance, someone has to file a complaint, after the complaint is filed it has to be approved by the OCR then the OCR begins an investigation of the university.

Although this document was approved by congress in 1972, there is still much more progress to be made. For example, I’m sure some of you, when asked what Title IX is would have responded with it being a document about allowing women to play sports, and in some aspects yes, it is, but ultimately, it is much more.

This document has been made because women were not granted the same opportunity to an education as men. It has been made because women were and are still being discriminated against in the workplace.

Some of you may think everything is okay now that we have this amendment. Some of you may question why the Diversity and Inclusion series was focused on Title IX. I’ll tell you why.

Simply because there is still discrimination in the work place; women continue to fight for equal pay, women are continuing to get harassed when going to work, women are getting raped at colleges and universities and nothing is being done about it (i.e. Harvard sexual assault case in 2010), there is much more to add to this list.

The main focus of this article is to let you all know there is still work to be done. The women and men before us have gotten us this far, now it is our time to finish what they have started.


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